Phoenix Bishop on Catholic Citizenship

News: US News
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  September 22, 2016   

"We do not walk into the voting booth by ourselves. We do it in Him and with Him"

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PHOENIX ( - Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona released the fourth edition of his booklet on Catholic citizenship during a packed seminar held next to the cathedral in downtown Phoenix.

In his booklet titled "Catholics in the Public Square," Bp. Olmsted warns pro-abortion politicians they're committing sin by promoting evil.

If a politician is actively supporting and furthering the culture of death, he is not only causing scandal; he is sinning. … [W]hen a politician performs actions (like voting) that allow for abortions and even promote abortions, or that mandate the distribution of contraceptives by pharmacists and others, that politician is materially cooperating in grave sin.

With rare clarity, the bishop spells out that such politicians must make a sincere confession and give public notice of amendment before receiving Holy Communion.

"When this occurs, then the politician cannot receive Holy Communion without previously making a good confession," he explained. "A good confession would require sincere sorrow for such sin and a firm purpose of making amendment."

He clarified, "Since the harm done would be public in nature, the amendment should also be public."

In his booklet, Olmsted affirms the Church's expectation that Catholics will exercise their faith when voting. "It only makes sense that if Catholics are supposed to live their faith in all of their daily activities that they should also take their faith into account while voting."

As reference he cites paragraph 75 from the Vatican II document "Gaudium et Spes." "As noted in the Second Vatican Council's teaching, 'every citizen ought to be mindful of his right and his duty to promote the common good by using his vote.'"

The bishop goes so far as to say, "Of course, if one's faith does not impact on one's whole life, including one's political and social responsibilities, then it is not authentic faith; it is a sham, a counterfeit."

The local Knights of Columbus sponsored the printing of 55,000 copies of this latest edition of Olmsted's publication. In addition they sponsored the seminar September 17 at which copies of the text were distributed. It was the same group who sponsored the first legislative seminar in 2006 to distribute the first edition of Olmsted's booklet. Since then 300,000 copies have been distributed owing to their efforts.

As many as 350 attendees packed into the Diocesan Pastoral Center next to St. Mary's Basilica where Bp. Olmsted began the event by offering Mass. He preached on how the Resurrection should embolden Catholics regardless of "what may discourage us in being good citizens" to practice their faith while performing their civic duty. "We do not walk into the voting booth by ourselves. We do it in Him and with Him."


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